Tehran, Iran – Iran’s foreign ministry has condemned as “shameful” a Canadian court ruling that said a Ukraine airliner was shot down intentionally last year in an “act of terrorism”.
In a statement on Friday, ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said the ruling a day earlier by Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice lacks basis and legitimate evidence.
“Everyone knows that the Canadian court is fundamentally not qualified to judge this aviation accident or potential negligence in an incident that is outside the territory and jurisdiction of Canada,” he said, adding the ruling was predictable considering the country’s history of making moves against the Islamic republic.
Ukraine Airlines Flight PS752 was shot down by two surface-to-air missiles fired from an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) battery in early January 2020, killing all 176 people on board, most of whom had ties to Canada and were heading there via Kyiv.
Iran’s final technical report earlier this year said it was an accident caused by “human error” as the missile system was not recalibrated on a tense night when Iran was expecting a potential retaliation by the United States.
The IRGC had fired more than a dozen missiles earlier that night at two US bases in neighbouring Iraq to avenge Major-General Qassem Soleimani, the head of the IRGC’s foreign arm, the Quds Force, who was assassinated by a drone strike ordered by former President Donald Trump.
But the Canadian court ruling, issued in support of some of the families of the victims in absence of Iranian defence, said it was intentional. Another hearing will take place in the future to determine compensation, and the families have said they will seek to seize Iran’s international assets wherever they can.
Iran’s cabinet in December set compensation at $150,000 for each of the families of the victims, but did not announce a timeline for the payments.
The country’s military court said on April 10 the “officials who had a role” in the downing of the plane have been issued indictments and will soon appear in court with the families of the victims present.
On Friday, the foreign ministry spokesman said the “politicised” move by the Canadian government will disrupt the international legal regime and hurt all countries, including Canada, and renew the pain of the victims’ families.
“We want the Canadian government to exhibit the behaviour of a government that boasts maturity, and behave based on recognised international frameworks instead of pretending to be active in relation to this tragic incident,” he said.